Improving a Child's Behavior Without Punishment
A parent who is trapped into punishing their child often has failed to use rewards skillfully enough to produce enough good behavior. Mild to moderate forms of punishment will be needed from time to time. But it is important to resist the temptation to resort to punishment immediately whenever your child misbehaves.
The next few posts will relate to alternatives to punishment.
Relabel the Behavior
Before trying to change a behavior in your child, ask yourself if it is really necessary. After some though, if you can't conclude that the behavior in question limits further learning, social adjustment, or is dangerous, you might consider that it is not so bad after all.
Check your own emotional state. Could it be that you are annoyed with your child's behavior because of your own mood? You may be tired, ill, preoccupied with some worry, or in need of a break from your child-care responsibilities.
It is good to ask yourself these kinds of questions before you label your child's behavior as bad and in need of change.
And, if you are wondering, I do not advocate permissiveness. More to come on this stuff!
Dr. Tom, 2/13/10